Meditation elicits many descriptive terms: stillness, silence, tranquility, peace, quiet, and calm.
All counter stress and tension. Lama Surya Das in his book Awakening The Buddha Within says, “Meditation is not just something to do. It’s a method of being and seeing – an unconditional way of living moment by moment.”
In other words, learning to live in this moment because this moment is all we have.
Henry Winkler is quoted as saying; “A human being’s first responsibility is to shake hands with himself.”
Meditation is an opportunity to ‘shake hands with ourselves’ in a safe, simple way and to balance our emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.
It takes many forms in today’s society. All have one thing in common. They use concentration techniques to still the mind and stop thought.
Many experts agree that meditation is an invaluable tool for relaxation. It has many health benefits. It wards off the physical damage caused by stress, boosts your immune function and basically helps relaxes your body.
However, meditation is one of the most widely practiced stress management technique worldwide. There are many benefits that you can derive from meditating.
So let’s look at some of the benefits that meditation has to offer.
Meditation helps you control your own thoughts.
Man has conquered space and Mount Everest. But the most difficult thing to conquer is your own mind. Even the greatest minds on Earth are not able to control their thoughts.
Look at Van Gogh. He succumbed to his thoughts and committed suicide. They are not able to reject their negative thoughts and focus on the positive.
However, the art of meditation teaches that not only that you can control your own thoughts, you can also reject your negative thoughts.
Through meditation, you will be able to create the peace of mind that you always wanted.
Meditation also teaches detachment.
It is easy to get annoyed by all the little things in life. It may be the jam to work in the morning, the rude lady that cut your queue.
Every little small thing may annoy you. No matter how you try and avoid these problems, they will also keep appearing and we need to get used to doing that.
Meditation will help you develop detachment and also keep your mind in perspective. Through meditation, you will be able to detach yourself from all these irritating little nuisances.
Meditation also helps you discover the purpose of life.
If you are feeling empty inside, meditation allows you the time that you need to examine yourself inwardly and helps you gain a greater understanding of life.
You will start to be relaxed and you will be able to view your life from a whole different perspective.
Lastly, meditation leads to happiness and peace of mind. As we have pointed out before, it helps you control your thoughts. So it is out with the negative thoughts and in with the positive energy.
It detaches you from little petty problems and also helps you discover the purpose of life. So try meditating today to live a better life tomorrow.
How to Meditate?
So how do you start meditating? Here are a few simple steps on how to learn to meditate.
First, choose the time and place.
You need to set a time each day for meditation. It may be the start of the day or it may be the end of the day.
It is recommended that you meditate at the start of the day because that is the time of the day when you are least tired and your mind is still fresh.
However, it is really up to you. After you have allocated a time to meditate, you need to set a place for you to meditate in. Preferably it is somewhere that is calming and relaxing and away from all noise and distraction.
You need to be away from the television set, or any house phone and mobile phones. You could also put on some gentle, calming music that is repetitive and gentle. This will create an environment that is relaxing for you.
Second, relax your whole body. Sit with your back straight.
It does not have to be in any particular position. The most important part is to remember that your back must be straight. This will help with your breathing later on.
Third, remember you control your own thoughts and not the other way round.
Reject all the negative thoughts and try to empty your mind. You need to be patient. Don’t expect that you’ll be able to successfully silence your mind on your first try.
If you were told to not think of a pink elephant, your mind will straight away think of a pink elephant. That is how difficult it is. Remember to be patient.
Fourth, try to concentrate on something.
It will be difficult to control your thoughts with just your inner mind alone. So try an easier way first.
Choose something to focus your attention on. It may be a simple mantra or you could be concentrating on a flower or a candle. You could also try listening to your heart beat and try to focus on that.
Once you are able to focus, you can now focus on silencing your mind. Remember, be patient and you too will soon be able to enjoy the benefits that meditation
Guided Meditation to Reduce Stress
Meditation is an anti-stress antidote. It is a means of attaining calm and tranquility.
Ordinary people who want to attain inner peace can utilize the same principles and through meditation be better equipped to deal with the everyday stresses they face.
One of the ways that meditation benefits practitioners is the way that it produces a deep state of relaxation, which enables the person to focus and attends to one thought or object.
The mind is often crowded by nagging worries and negative emotions, which affect a person’s judgment. It also involves problems the world has an offer. Meditation succeeds where other approaches fail.
When the human body is subjected to either psychological or physical stresses, there are physical changes that occur that negatively impact the body.
The fight-or-flight response kicks in. This is the body’s way of preparing the person to “survive” the situation.
This physiologic response can be harmful when the stress is applied continuously, like what happens to people who live a stressful lifestyle.
It is therefore not surprising that the incidence of heart disease, hypertension, and other diseases due in part to stress is increasing in modern society.
Western medicine is successful in alleviating these conditions and improving the quality of life, but only to a certain degree.
Moreover, some people are looking for other ways, or alternative approaches to help them deal with stress and make themselves much more capable of dealing with any situation that arises without kicking into high gear all the time.
Scientific studies have shown that meditation has the opposite effect as the fight-or-flight response.
Based on research, the following are the physiological effects of meditation: lowered muscle tension, decrease in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate, as well as lowered oxygen consumption. These effects are proven to be very good for the body.
To avoid stress build-ups, you can try meditation. Besides it being cool to do, you can obtain an immediate calming effect regardless of your meditation posture. In this manner, you can reduce your stress.
1. Practicing your breathing is the first process you should learn. If you observe that stress is starting to disturb you, just do a couple of light breathing. Concentrate on your breathing quality. Make sure that it’s light and still. Then slowly breathe deeper.
2. The next step is to balance your posture and make it even, head up and back straight. Most people who are stressed out often do a slouching posture while frowning.
3. Clear your thoughts. Start to imagine that you are swimming in relaxing waves. Feel the flowing waves in your consciousness that is taking away all you stress and anxiety. Make sure your body receives the constant flow of the waves.
4. Acknowledge your stress and review its root causes. This is a very important step. Denying stress in the meditation process is not good. Clearly, speak to your mind that the stress is true but you have the capacity to handle it by thinking straight and finding ways to deal and cope up with it immediately.
5. Repeat this statement during your meditation process for at least ten minutes or more. Then take control of your stress totally. Think of the person who caused you such stress and made you out of control. Control your mind and remove the stress from it.
6. Finally, concentrate on a decision that you have the right to a peaceful and free mind and nobody can say or do anything against this right, as you end the meditation process. Every time you need meditation just dictates this decision to your mind.
These steps can do something to change your outlook whenever stress disturbs you. Never be afraid to try, just believe in the benefits that it will give you in the end.
Practicing meditation is an effective approach to promoting emotional balance as well as overall good health. Experts today recommend it as a way to deal with stress and to lessen the symptoms of some body ailments.
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